From Hoodlum to Street Photog, the Story of Jovan ‘Bonna’ Lamb

Jovan ‘Bonna’ Lamb was born and raised in the Overtown neighborhood of Miami, Florida, an area marked by poverty and crime. As a teenager in the area, he’ll tell you that he was “a young hoodlum … becoming a thug” until something happened: he stumbled across a camera.

Since then he’s become Overtown’s resident photographer, taking his camera with him everywhere he goes and making a living by photographing events for the folks around the neighborhood.


That’s what he was doing when fellow photographer Charles ‘Stretch’ Ledford met him and heard his story, a story Ledford decided to tell through this video he made for a Multimedia Storytelling graduate seminar he was taking at the University of Miami School of Communication.

The video is called The Eye of Overtown, and it’s just one of many chapters Ledford shot about the neighborhood and its people for his website Overtowner: Inside/Out. In this video, he follows Lamb around and gets to hear his story first hand. A story that includes losing both a brother and cousin to gun violence, discovering a passion for photography, and growing a conscience “out of the blue.”

Check out the video at the top for the full story. It might be just the dose of inspiration you need before heading into the weekend.

(via BBC)

  • Casey J McGeorge

    A story like this is awesome. Seeing not only somebody who is doing the right things, but someone who recognizes what that person is doing.

  • Frank McKenna

    Awesome story. I love reading how Photography can help people change their lives and the lives of those around them.

  • Stan B.

    Inner cities across this nation (and the world) are laden with scarce few opportunities and alternatives, the end result- broken, wasted lives and a pattern of hopelessness repeated throughout generations. A valuable human resource that is wantonly : ignored, condemned and imprisoned.

    Fate smiles kindly on few, and rarely without strings or restrictions. Jovan now has the chance to go beyond his past, and even beyond his present, helping shine a light on those around him as he does so.

    Even in so-called “post racial” America, it’s still not often we see people of color working the camera from behind the lens. Despite all its technological advances, photography, for the most part, still remains in the distant past when it comes to displaying its colors on a level playing field.

  • andy petterson

    He’s wearing a scarf made popular by terrorists. Is he clueless?

  • Dee

    is that all you noticed?

  • Jason

    Seriously man, you need to clue the $%@& up.

  • neatjunk

    Go back to Drudge Report, I’m sure you could care less about photography.

  • Rabi Abonour

    Professional photographers can get so jaded about what we do. It’s awesome to hear a story like this, about photography really being used for good.